| Volume 67 | Number 2
Developing School Leaders
EL Study Guide
Thomas Hatch opens his article "The Outside-Inside Connection" with the following school scenario:
For the most part, staff members go about their business, doing what they're asked to do. They look at data; they make some adjustments. They work with coaches who have helped usher in a host of different programs. Student performance is adequate but not stellar, yet parents seem satisfied, making relatively few complaints.
He then asks, "If you were the new principal, what changes would you make?" and goes on to add some additional variables, such as new state science standards, required formative assessments in reading and math, a drop in student enrollment with an attendant loss in teaching staff, and a student demographic shift.
- What would you do if you were principal of this school? How would you ensure that your school responded adequately to these demands while striving for student achievement that is better than merely adequate?
- Hatch notes that many challenges schools face are connected to things that are happening outside the school. Make a list of some of the challenges your school faces. Consider whether these challenges are rooted inside or outside the school. How might you respond to each?
- What are some of the organizations in your community that your school could partner with to resolve some of its challenges? What steps can you take now to form such a partnership? If you are already in partnership with some local allies, what can you do to make these partnerships more fruitful?
Answering the Tough Questions
In "Tough Questions for Tough Times," William Parrett and Kathleen Budge explain how high-poverty schools have raised student achievement by closely examining their policies and practices.
- According to Parrett and Budge, a school's budget is "a moral document" that reveals what the school believes is necessary for student success. Do you agree with this statement? How can your school spend money more wisely?
- Parrett and Budge provide several questions about leadership, learning, and the learning environment for school leaders to think about. Choose one question from each category and examine how your school stacks up. What are you doing well, and how might you improve?
- Select one of Parrett and Budge's question for more focused study. Gather data that helps answer the question, analyze the data, and develop a list of strategies for improvement.
Leading with Confidence
In "Fearless Leading," Yvette Jackson and Veronica McDermott state that teachers need fearless leaders if they are to be the best teachers they can be. They note that
fearless leading requires a dramatically different conception of the role of the leader. A conception of the leader as the lone go-to person consumed by management concerns only serves to isolate leaders. We encourage leaders to use different metaphors to define themselves and their roles
Jackson and McDermott go on to describe four leadership metaphors: leaders as architects, ministers, soul friends, and muses.
- Which of these four metaphorical roles do you believe are most important for school leaders? If you are in school leadership, which of these roles are most comfortable for you? In which areas do you need to grow? What's one thing you could do to start growing in that area?
- Think back over the school leaders you have known. Which leaders best embodied these roles? What specific things did they do to demonstrate these qualities? How did their leadership transform the school?
- Jackson and McDermott state that leaders who perform the four roles well "increase teacher confidence and competence." What kind of support do you need from your leaders? How can your leaders, whether they be teacher leaders, administrators, or superintendents, help you to do your job well?
Copyright © 2009 by ASCD